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The FCC May Decide Not To Regulate Broadband 279

This morning the Washington Post reported that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is leaning toward letting the telecomms have their way — not asserting greater authority to regulate the Internet by reclassifying broadband as a Title II service. The blogs are atwitter (HuffPo, StopTheCap) that not voting to apply Title II regulation to Internet carriers is tantamount to giving up on net neutrality — which has been a centerpiece of the Obama administration's tech policy. The Post paraphrases its sources, who are reading the chairman's mind, that Genachowski believes "the current regulatory framework would lead to constant legal challenges to the FCC's authority every time it attempted to pursue a broadband policy." The FCC will say only that the chairman has made no decision yet.
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The FCC May Decide Not To Regulate Broadband

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:59PM (#32079630)

    If carrier neutrality won't be regulated then I want all government/carrier deals to be outlawed. I want to be able to sign up with anyone who is willing to toss me a line.

  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:59PM (#32079634)
    Now Comcast gets to decide what websites I can visit and at what speed. Or, alternately, I can go to the one other alternative I have (AT&T) and let THEM decide what websites I can visit and at what speed.
  • by smoothnorman ( 1670542 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:05PM (#32079688)
    Here is a good direct opinion piece to point to your congress critter: "Comcast Can Censor This Blog Post ... With FCC's Permission?" [] Try to impress on them the notion of what if Comcast should decide not to be supportive of your their reelection webpage?
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:05PM (#32079696) Homepage Journal

    People vote based on what they read, see, or hear on the news. The FCC has already abdicated its responsibility regarding broadcast media, no more fairness doctrine and nothing to replace it. Now they want to do the same with the internet. What this means is that the United States will move very solidly toward being even more of a plutocracy than it is today.

    I can't say what bad news this is for democracy.

  • Who do I call? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boondaburrah ( 1748490 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:07PM (#32079714)
    I'm wondering who I have to write to in hopes of keeping Net Neutrality (or something like it) afloat.

    A friend of mine lives in an area that is entirely served by Charter Cable. If they get to do whatever they want, it's not like he can drop them and move somewhere else if they start messing with his internet.

    Well, I suppose there's dialup (shudder).
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chunky Kibbles ( 530549 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:12PM (#32079758) Homepage

    "the current regulatory framework would lead to constant legal challenges to the FCC's authority every time it attempted to pursue a broadband policy."

    And... so?

    "Something's good for consumers but unpopular with service providers; because the service providers might be bitchy let's not do it."

    What? The *point* of the FCC is *exactly* to suffer being that middle man.

    Gary (-;

  • Can't wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rennerik ( 1256370 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:20PM (#32079832)
    This is disastrous. I don't even know where to begin...

    While there will undoubtedly be some competition by way of cable companies vs. DSL/fiber providers (pushing video/television and what-not), on both sides there will be hefty opposition against bandwidth sinks like like Hulu and Youtube. I can see it now: "Comcast Cable is now offering unlimited bandwidth! Experience our 6mbps* high-speed Internet for a low fee of only $45.00/month! Some restrictions apply! *Certain content may not be available at full speed, such as YouTube, Hulu, and non-Comcast partners. YouTube is available at full-speed for an additional fee of $1.99/month; Hulu is available for $3.49/month; non-Comcast partners are available for a low monthly fee per site. Please see full price list for details. Comcast partners include sports sites such as and, as well as networks such as Comedy Central and Syfy. Switch to Comcast today to see these sites at full-speed! (Television network sites are available for $1.99/month)"

    And really, nothing can stop them from doing that. They can throttle BitTorrent traffic, slow down competitors' sites, or even detect streaming media and throttle it down.

    Plus, micropayments via web games such as Farmville and MMOs have proven to be a good source of income. Maybe they'll offer to unthrottle BitTorrent traffic for a "low low price of $1.99/week".

    Yeah, net neutrality is a bunch of bull. If you want fast sites, you need to *pay* for fast sites, you communist. Don't expect handouts like "unlimited internet"; hell, even roads have tolls!
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:22PM (#32079842)
    The 'fairness' doctrine is complete BS. It leads to straw man-type arguments and too much liability for broadcasters.

    And net neutrality is -completely- different than the fairness doctrine. All net neutrality does it make sure that broadband providers can't give preferential treatment or throttle connections.

    What needs to happen is taxpayers must rise against ISPs taking public land without giving the public what it wants. Want to throttle? Don't use public land. If you don't use public land, you don't have to follow what the public wants. But most if not all ISPs do use public land and so the public needs to have a say on what goes on there.
  • by Infirmo ( 449121 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:22PM (#32079850)

    I mean, just look at the banks.

    (Or forestry in the 1980s. Or the savings and loan arena in the 1980s. Or AT&T in the 19th Century...)

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:31PM (#32079926) Journal

    Why should we have Net Neutrality, when we can't even have Tax Neutrality?

  • Re:So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumLeaper ( 607189 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:35PM (#32079952) Journal
    Tell Congress to change the laws. What I mean is write a REAL paper letter to your Congress person, and not email them.
  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:37PM (#32079990) Journal
    The FCC shouldn't have the right to make laws and enforce them too, that is why comcast won and will continue to win. So instead of trying to pass regulation the legal way the current administration has decided to give up or start taking donations from telecoms.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:38PM (#32079996) Homepage Journal
    Flat taxation is just one of very many things that you'll have a hard time selling politically while the channels of communication to the electorate are controlled by giant corporations that take advantage of special taxation.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:44PM (#32080028) Homepage Journal

    tell me that the current way the news is reported is good for the political health of the United States

    Of course it's not. But that does not mean that for the government to decide what news can be reported, and how it will be reported, is better.

    I think we've established that lassez-faire capitalism isn't the answer. But you seem to be saying that the long tail is the answer, and yet the long tail is mostly disproven.

  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:45PM (#32080042) Journal
    Most people won't argue that the lines the telecoms use were purchased by the taxpayers and should be open. what many do object to is a government entity that can write and enforce it's own laws side stepping checks an balances. If net-neutrality is going to happen a law must be written by congress passed in both the house and senate then approved by the president, not the FCC declaring that it can regulate the telecoms and then imposing new rules and fining any company that breaks them. So contact the democrats and ask them why they have chosen not to pass this law they have a majority in both house and senate and should easily find votes from republicans in the senate to stop a filibuster as long as that is all that is in the law.
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @08:46PM (#32080050)
    Flat taxation is just one of the very many things that will never happen in America because we have a political system that restricts political views. We have two parties who are parties of money, not parties of principle. Can you -really- define a true party-wide stance of the Republicans and Democrats? No. Their stances change based on money. They are not parties of principle. Until we have a true democratic system such as Proportional Representation ( [] ) such things will be useless unless someone has enough money to buy congress which won't happen because flat taxation among many other issues help the working class and the poor and will help the rich too but they see the loss of special tax breaks, etc. as a net loss when in reality it would be a net gain.

    Can you show me just one major example of a (US) ISP restricting political views based solely on political viewpoint without having a simi-valid 'legal' reason?

    And whenever you have governmental control over communication (such as the BBC) smaller viewpoints get left out even more than with our current system. Look at the debates that were publicly funded and left out major parties such as the Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Camru.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:07PM (#32080230)

    US is not a democracy. I'm not sure what it is -- people run for election to represent the people, they make certain promises, and express what their position is on various issues to appeal to the masses.

    They get elected, and then they vote in a manner that is diametrical opposite to the sales pitch they gave to get elected.

    Because they have a multi-year term, there's absolutely nothing the people they represent can do to revoke or cancel the benefits of having won the election based on their unfulfilled contract with their constitutents, when they start to go wrong.

    Or they 'sell' the choice of how they'll represent their people to the highest bidder. So in exchange for personal favor X, they falsely represent that the people want Y, in order to secure that favor, and they do it on every single vote.

    I compare it to a corporate board of directors hiring a candidate with a 2 year non-revokable contract to be CEO, so the new employee can't be removed, limited, or rendered powerless, as long as they don't do anything actually illegal, and very high salary, based on a 5 minute interview, with very limited background information being available (other than their claimed positions on certain governance issues).

    Of course the moment the deal is done, they can do whatever they want, including managing the company very badly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:11PM (#32080260)

    Except it doesn't. Flat tax RAPES the poor. It's the most regressive system of modern years and it basically give a tax break to rich people that the poor people have to pick up. Flat tax takes someone just about breaking even (income= necessity expenditure) and adds to their tax burden, and someone with lots of money (income necessity expenditure) and reduces their burden. It ignores the basic cost of living, it makes a mockery of any sense of fairness. Flat tax is pushed by loonies as some kind of panacea, but in reality it would cripple those who really have to work for a living.

  • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GaryOlson ( 737642 ) <[slashdot] [at] []> on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:11PM (#32080266) Journal
    3G degrades to 0G rather quickly during Midwestern thunderstorms. I'll keep the landline.
  • Disillusioned (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:12PM (#32080278) Homepage

    "...not voting to apply Title II regulation to Internet carriers is tantamount to giving up on net neutrality -- which has been a centerpiece of the Obama administration's tech policy."

    As one who bought the hype and strongly advocated for Obama, let me say I think this sentence is under-broad. From Gitmo to torture to open government to bringing everyone to the table on health care, the story has been the same.

    The author mentions giving up on netneut, a centerpiece of tech policy. I think giving up on things has been a centerpiece all Obama policy.

  • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GaryOlson ( 737642 ) <[slashdot] [at] []> on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:19PM (#32080338) Journal

    Or form a neighborhood Internet co-op.

    You mean let my local municipal government build a last mile connection to my house. This has been tried []. The regulated profits of the regulated monopolies provide the incumbents with the ability to write off litigation costs -- regardless of the source of those litigation costs. Those of us who would prefer a municipal network are instead forced to pay the legal expenses which prevent municipal networks.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:25PM (#32080390) Homepage Journal
    I agree that in a strictly linear tax system there would have to be a subsidy for the poor to offset the discriminatory effect of the taxation. And anyway I find nonlinear taxation to be fair as long as it increases for the rich rather than the opposite. But taxation with thousands of exceptions doesn't seem fair to anyone.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:27PM (#32080406) Homepage Journal

    You can't make people learn. Before the days of cable channels carefully crafted to appeal to specific political groups, TV news viewers would simply turn off the TV, or change the channel to a sitcom, when a reporter they didn't like came on the air. If a debate show came on, they'd do the same -- or watch for the purpose of cheering "their guy" and booing "the other guy" like they were watching a football game. Newspaper readers glance at the headlines before deciding which stories to read, and flip past editorial columnists with whom they disagree. Unless we go with some Orwellian TV-watching-you requirement that people sit down and watch their daily ration of government-mandated news, there's nothing we can do about this ... and the consequences of instituting such a requirement would be much, much worse than any amount of cable "news" propaganda or echo-chamber blogging is ever likely to be.

    Do you really think that people were better informed in the days of the fairness doctrine? Remember, it was Reagan who got rid of it -- and in order to do that, he had to get elected in the first place, which says to me that it didn't really do a whole lot of good.

  • Re:Great. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:29PM (#32080422)

    Australia: The Godwin for any discussion on internet access.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:34PM (#32080454)

    Only for your private definition of internet service. Now, I might actually like that definition, but there isn't a similar definition in U.S. law where it counts, or this would not be nearly so much of an issue.

    True, however, since fraud is the misrepresentation of services, one needs to use the commonly accepted definition since I don't think that the US provides a specific definition (however, I'm not a lawyer)

    So, you're talking about the pole plant, and the radio airwaves. But this applies to 1) how the right to build a pole plant or operate on a radio frequency is granted and 2) what right you have to operate a channel on a partially publicly supported pole plant before we get to 3) how a particular private network - and if there's more than one of them they will tend to be treated as private - is operated. I think you might better direct your efforts to 1 and 2.

    I'm a bit confused about your use of pole plant, all Google comes up with is references to skiing...

    However, my basic stance is that if you use public funds, you are accountable to the public. If you use solely private funds you are accountable simply to not to violate the rights of others. While it is true that we have a limited amount of frequencies, we have a large enough selection of them for use of all different forms of data use that it shouldn't be a huge problem who has what just as long as the FCC does its primary (and should be only) job of making sure signals don't interfere with others.

    If there are too many people wanting a specific frequency that hasn't been leased by the FCC yet, the different companies or individuals would just bid and the highest bidder would win.

    However, if frequencies are very limited, the FCC should allow for reasonable caps of frequencies aquired. If they want to exceed the number of frequencies they must submit to the public will in regards to what they use it for.

    I can't imagine how many trillions of dollars GM has had in subsidies through the construction of the interstate highway system, etc.

    The answer to that would be $0 from the highway system (unless GM was one of the contractors...) because GM along with any other car manufacturer can use them. If the government gives $500 million to AT&T, only AT&T can make use of that. If the government spends $500 million on roads it benefits GM, Ford, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Dodge, Harley-Davidson, UPS, Fed-Ex, you and me.

    And we get to say precious little about GM's operation, even now that we own it temporarily.

    True, and I believe that we should be able to control GM's operation because of the bail-out until they pay it back. (not that I agree with the bail-outs...)

    you are not going to win any of these arguments while using a plutocratic channel to communicate with the electorate.

    The problem isn't really the communication with the electorate it is the fact we have a lack of competition in US politics and few parties of principle who win seats. And until we have party-list proportional representation, that is not going to change no matter if we have net neutrality or not.

    I just happen to think that how you get information that you will vote upon is a lot more important than your right to distribute an illegitimate copy of American Idiot.

    Yes, and that is a valid opinion. However, it confuses the two issues so much the tech-illiterate public will not be able to tell the difference and will think it is the fairness doctrine and be against it. Just look at Rush Limbaugh who confused the two and mislead the public. Separating the two issues let people see that net neutrality is a -good thing- even if they opposed the fairness doctrine.

  • Try to impress on them the notion of what if Comcast should decide not to be supportive of your their reelection webpage?

    Unlikely, my politician is already in Comcast's pocket. Why would comcast censor their own politician? :(

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:44PM (#32080518)

    Flat tax RAPES the poor.

    No it doesn't. If you look at how much government people use, it is the poor who end up sapping the most. It only makes sense for people to pay for what they use. A flat tax does that in a fair way because the poor still get to have taxpayer funded breaks and the rich don't have to pay for people who make stupid decisions. Why are the poor in poverty? Most of the time they made bad decisions (when the economy is relativity healthy, today a lot of the poor are victims of bad luck, but once the economy improves they will get jobs).

    it makes a mockery of any sense of fairness.

    Fair is paying what you use. The only fair form of government is that which you pay a small fee for the maintenance of the army per household (after all, in this day and age if you have a household of 1 or 10 the same ICBM or drone will protect you), you pay a fee for the police, fire service, etc. If you have school age kids in public schooling you pay a fee for schools, pay a fee when you get your drivers license for road use, etc. Such things are fair.

    If you look at the rich, they generally use less government, so why are they paying more? It is the poor that drain our tax dollars not the rich (individuals that is, corporations are different story...)

  • by malbosher ( 795323 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:54PM (#32080598)
    No surprise corporations have their way and the commons suffers.
  • by s1ashd0twh0r3 ( 936321 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:06PM (#32080672)
    For most people:

    Good information == information that supports their views


    Good voting == voting with an outcome they favor

    That's why the "fairness doctrine" is so Orwellian. By definition, it requires some person or entity to decide what is a fair mix of opinion and what is good information.

    "Experts" usually love that sort of arrangement, usually because they envision themselves to be the arbiter.

    Would you favor it, though, if someone you disagreed with politically had the power to make such determinations?

  • by Kirijini ( 214824 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:12PM (#32080700)

    The solution to speech we don't like is, always, more speech. There is never a good alternative.

    The fairness doctrine promotes more speech. More accurately, it promotes availability of more viewpoints.

    The fairness doctrine doesn't suppress speech - its a mechanism for forcing people/corporations with a megaphone to hand the megaphone over to to the people they talk about. Since the megaphone is government sponsored, this is entirely reasonable.

    In a world where people's voices are equally strong, you can't just ignore what your enemies say. You have to actually engage them if you want to win an argument. In this world, broadcasters can just say whatever they want and ignore the response. Nobody (or at least, very few people) hears the response, so broadcasters don't have to engage it. This is not healthy for democracy.

  • by ratnerstar ( 609443 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:13PM (#32080706) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but that's just flat out incorrect. And worse, it's counterproductive.

    Do our regulatory structures need serious reform? Are there areas we are extremely ineffective at regulating? Do companies often find ways to wiggle around stringent regulations? Have politicians gutted good regulations for ideological or fund-raising reasons? Yes yes yes and yes. But to argue that there is "no such thing" as government regulation anymore is to deny evidence all around us. Look at our environment, specifically air and drinking water quality. Look at workplace safety, medical procedures and drugs, automobiles, construction, fishery management, etc etc etc. Now compare them to countries that really don't have any enforced regulations or periods in history where the US didn't; the difference is profound. If you want to see what "no regulations" looks like, go live in Africa or southeast Asia for a while. Then come back and we'll talk.

    To say that regulation is dead is to just give up on the idea that we can improve our regulatory systems. It's the same cynical bullshit we see all the time on slashdot. If there's one reason we don't have perfect regulation, it's that people sat around moaning about how it's impossible.

  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:34PM (#32080836)

    we'll have to figure out a way to make a second one that retains net neutrality.

    Maybe this can be done both bottom up, through open-standards organizations,
    and ad-hoc technical committees,
    and top-down, with funding and support from the likes of Google and legions
    of other would-be information exchangers on the Internet.

    We will need a giant "route around the problem" type of solution, involving
    new fiber backbones, with different ownership arrangements than presently,
    and high-speed wireless for the last mile.

    If the telcos start filtering the pipes, we need to render them irrelevant through
    collective will to build a better net with more geodesic rather than hub spoke topology.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:35PM (#32080840) Homepage Journal
    You can't be serious.

    This is sort of like saying that since some country doesn't really have democracy, we should drop the pretense of democracy and be a straight dictatorship.

    Dictatorship of the rich is exactly what a plutocracy is.

  • by Wildclaw ( 15718 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:39PM (#32080856)

    No it doesn't. If you look at how much government people use, it is the poor who end up sapping the most.

    Are you kidding me. 95% of the benefits that government provide is so that rich can make more money.

    * Law & Order/Military - protect the resources of the rich
    * Social Security - proactive law & order
    * Infrastructure - pooling resources on infrastructure so those with property (the rich) can make more money.
    * Education - create low level employees that can make money for the rich.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:52PM (#32080936)

    Law & Order/Military - protect the resources of the rich

    ...No, they protect everyone. Our country is pretty much safe from attack. Any major threat would affect -everyone- rich and poor. As for law and order, they again protect everyone. However, generally you've screwed something up in your life if you need to use lots and lots of police force.

    Social Security - proactive law & order

    How does social security benefit the rich at all? They don't use the money. Heck, I don't think many of them can get the money they just pay it and it goes into oblivion. The rich have better plans than crappy government sponsorships.

    Infrastructure - pooling resources on infrastructure so those with property (the rich) can make more money.

    No, infrastructure helps the poor far more often than the rich. The rich can afford their own infrastructure and generally do. It is the poor and middle class that need public infrastructure.

    Education - create low level employees that can make money for the rich.

    Our current education helps no one and harms everyone. Because GEDs mean nothing, public education is not a qualification and thus someone reasonably bright graduates with the same qualifications as a complete moron. Which means that university-level degrees are the only thing that matters.

    Our education system needs to flunk out those not bright enough so a high school education counts. This will help the poor because they get free paperwork for a decent job if they are qualified.

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:03PM (#32081002)

    Yeah... and the world is perfect.

    Get your head out of your free market ass and wake up.

    Get real: Very few people cooperate to control very many people. Acting like this isn't real is your own problem; and I'm sorry you may be too naive to see it.

  • by ffreeloader ( 1105115 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:09PM (#32081032) Journal

    And just how does it do that? It says who can broadcast. Say there are 10 conservative talk radio shows and 1 liberal talk radio show. How are the 10 conservative talk radio shows hurting the 1 liberal show? If the same market was there for liberal talk radio that's there for conservative talk radio don't you think it would exist already? There have been a lot of efforts at liberal talk radio and they have all failed. None of them had enough listeners to make the money needed to stay on the air. Whose fault is that? Conservatives? Don't make me laugh.

    Same with TV. It's the number of viewers who decide what the most popular talking head shows are. If the liberal news shows were the most popular then they would have the most viewers.

    What's been shown over and over again is that the conservative talk radio shows and conservative news/opinion channels make the most money because they have the largest audience. The vast majority of people like them better.

    How is the fairness doctrine going to change that? Run the conservative shows off the air because the liberal ones don't have a large enough audience? Try to force people to watch/listen-to shows they have no interest in? Yeah, like that's fair or will work. That's limiting political speech under the guise of "fairness". If the liberal/progressive viewpoint was actually the majority opinion progressive talk radio and tv talking-head shows would dominate the airwaves. They don't.

    Making a law just to enforce your own political viewpoints to have "equal time", as in equal audience, is anti-American at best. We are free to choose to listen to what we want to. You limit the number of conservative shows and all that will happen is that the audience for the remaining shows will grow tremendously. Conservatives aren't going to listen to progressive political commentary. They disagree with it and aren't going to support it. That's their right as Americans. You might disagree with them and not like their political philosophy, but so what? They disagree with you and don't like your political philosophy. Seems fair enough to me.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#32081058) Homepage Journal

    If you are willing to pay a few hundred or thousand to get a line dug down, you should be permitted to hook up whoever you want. Right now, you can't, because the city council has made deals with certain providers, and others aren't allowed access. Even if you offer to pay for the last mile.
    So you have the choice of ONE phone provider and ONE cable company. At five times the price people in less populated countries (like the Scandinavian ones) pay, for a service a tenth the speed.

    I don't think the average US consumer knows how much he's getting stiffed. I bet that average Joe and Jane believes the spiel that a 0-1500/0-256 ADSL line that's even further throttled whenever something connects to certain ports is "high speed" and "broadband". Yet they pay up to $80 per month and think they are blessed to be Americans and have the best service in the world.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#32081064)
    The Internet is a huge opportunity to grab enormous power, like the railroads in the 19th Century. No government is going to stop the rich and powerful from taking it over. Just the thought of controlling the discourse and commerce of society will drive powerful men to do anything -- lie, cheat, steal, kill. People will be damned, of course,
  • by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#32081066)
    The bad news is that the FIX is in, the bought dogs of avarice voted their conscience ($$$$).
    Politicians should serve three terms, 2 in office and 1 life sentence in prison.
    Another reason for the separation of Business and State.
  • by KibibyteBrain ( 1455987 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:26PM (#32081166)
    I don't think it makes much sense to allow anyone to dig all the lines they want. To the extreme, it just wouldn't work as it would become an unmanageable mess, and to the norm, it just makes no sense as one or two relatively cheap fibers to every home is all we will need for a decade or two. The current system works, except for the illusion that some company owns the lines connecting your home to the world, which doesn't work and requires oppression by either the provider or the government, neither of which is very desirable.
    It should be a common community asset leased to service providers, much like the airwaves.
  • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:30PM (#32081204)

    Hyperbole []

    Irony []

    No, I'm not serious.


    No, scratch that, I think I actually am. If admitting you have a problem is the first step, then let's go ahead and just admit that the FCC is utterly useless. I've got a few dozen dead miners' ghosts who'd like to talk about the uselessness of OSHA, and the line of people who would like to talk about the toothlessness of the EPA begins in Galveston and is expected to run through Pensacola.

    The plutocracy we currently have is exactly a dictatorship of the rich. I've been fighting the good fight since before Reagan and it has been a flood of crap from James Watt through Glenn Beck. It has been one long slide down and back.

    The Bill of Rights stands in tatters. We measure our national debt in trillions. We're so deeply in bed with various murderous dictators around the world I can't even say the words "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" with a straight face any more. We're torturing prisoners. Our cops are shooting unarmed, handcuffed, face-down pleading men in the back. Texas has disappeared Thomas Jefferson from their civics curriculum. We're so afraid of terrorists we think strip-searching everyone is a good idea. I routinely, day in and day out, hear my fellow citizens argue that women with terminal breast cancer should be left to die in the street, and that only children who can afford it should have access to health care.

    Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? I don't even recognize my country any more. We've become a small, cowardly people with no heart, and the justifiable laughingstock of the civilized world.

    So in my darker moments, Bruce, yeah, every so often I'm tempted to say "Frack it. Give 'em what they want." America didn't quit smoking until pretty much everyone knew at least one close friend or family member who died hacking up bloody bits of lung cancer in the 70s. Maybe that's what it's gonna take for us to learn. Maybe when someone in every family has been left to die of a curable disease in the gutter, maybe when real unemployment hits 50 percent and stays there, maybe when we go back to the bad old days of Dickens' worst dream, maybe then we'll wake up and start to deal with these issues.

    And then I see my kids, and I see their future, and I ease off the "Lethal Weapon" Martin Riggs crazy throttle.

    *END RANT*

    No, Bruce, I'm not serious. Yes, Bruce, I would dearly love to see the FCC rediscover their mandate and begin fighting the good fight. But if the choice is the FCC as a telco sock puppet, or no FCC at all...

    I can't say I'd miss them.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:40PM (#32081266) Homepage Journal

    Why are the poor in poverty? Most of the time they made bad decisions

    Yeah, like being born with too much melanin in their skin. Terrible decision.

    A large number of the poor people around where I live are from families that were enticed by the U.S. government to move off of the farm to the city so that they could build ships during World War II. Then when the war construction effort ended, their jobs were taken away (along with those of the women) and if anyone got a job, it was a returning GI.

    They didn't make a bad decision so much as they were cheated by their own nation.

  • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:58PM (#32081398)
    It's true that Google will let you go wherever you want...

    Unfortunately they will track everywhere you go and add that info into their galactic databases. Then they will use that info to help sell you crap. But it will be convenient, you won't even have to bother to actually order stuff - Google will just know what you want and order it for you (conveniently debiting your bank account and adding a nominal Google Product Procurement Fee to the charge). Google will even know when you will be home to receive it (since, of course, you SHALL use Google calendar) when it's delivered by Google Parcel Service.
  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:38AM (#32081638) Homepage

    Come back when the rich aren't dictating the government agenda and while getting huge for tax breaks both personally, and for their private interests.

    You have no understanding of the causes of poverty. The single biggest predictor of whether you'll die in poverty is if you were born into poverty. That's just the sad truth. By your logic, the "bad choice" was being born.

    The real world is far more complicated than your simple preconceptions. I suggest you break out of your epistemic closure [].

  • by Barrinmw ( 1791848 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:55AM (#32081732)
    Flat Taxation unjustly punishes the poor, say what?
    Lets say that the poverty line is $18000 for a single person.
    Said person makes $20,000. Current system, maybe pays like $800 in taxes? So 4%.

    Assume 10% Flat Tax. That is $2000. Now a person who was above the poverty line, is now at it or below.

    The reason we have a progressive Tax system is because, you can tax rich people more, and not hurt them. So that means the government can do more without punishing the poor people.

    I understand that the rich would have you believe that taxes hurt them, but they don't. Also, poor people are needed, they are the ones who work for the rich people.

    Lastly, a progressive tax never makes people want to work less like so many people believe. It only taxes the money in that tax bracket at that amount. If you go $1 over into a tax bracket, only that $1 is taxed at the higher rate. Since there is never a tax bracket that is 100%, there is always incentive to make more money.

    Progressive Taxes are fine, stop bringing up Flat Taxes as a somehow save all of everything.
  • by quagi ( 1702572 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:34AM (#32082154)
    Google's TiSP is looking better and better every day!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:38AM (#32082174)

    I think both Darkness and Wildclaw make valid points - the rich (generalization) do take advantage of education, social security, infrastructure, and the legal system in order to subsidize their profiteering - but the solution isn't to introduce more government for the rich to take advantage of. People act as if a free market in broadband infrastructure is foreseeable in the near future despite the government subsidizing the growth of privileged corporations. The free market works but dissolving the sort of monopolistic structures the government has created could take many decades. The government - as a service to the people - should attempt to sort out its own mess.

    Rolling back the extravagant tax structure used to milk the poor through inflation and externalizing costs is another issue altogether. I am not against a minority having a lot of money, I am against the government subsidy of the economic engines making some people rich at the expense of others.

  • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @08:22AM (#32083500)

    The reason why is irrelevant. I'm a consumer. I want services that meet my needs, not things that don't work and a list of excuses as to why. 5GB is a metric I would hit within a few days each and every time, and without any need for bittorrent. The current web has podcasts (both video and audio), streaming sites (eg Hulu and Netflix) and pay download sites (iTunes and the like) that will SWAMP 5GB in a heartbeat. Video games are being distributed in full over the net via Steam & other services - that's several GB per game in most cases. Even traditionally purchased games have patches that can run 1GB plus (ie, a large content patch to WoW for example).

    If it was 1998, then sure 5GB would be all I ever needed. Today though it's a very different story.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @08:56AM (#32083728) Homepage

    QoS has nothing to do with "net neutrality" although it is part of the tools used to violate the same.

    Net neutrality has to do with applying things like QoS to traffic types for the sole purpose of extracting higher fees out of places like Google or hindering if they don't, hindering competitor traffic, and the like.

    Don't confuse the tools with their usage. There IS a distinct difference within the two.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:31AM (#32084066) Homepage

    Bruce, you're missing the point, I think.

    What they're trying to bar isn't the content providers (that'd be Google, Yahoo!, etc...)- that's kind of what Comcast and others are doing right now. What they're trying to bar is the people providing the transportation.

    A bad car analogy would be one of the roads and highways going from a home to a shopping center or mall. What is going on is more of someone trying to prevent the person who built the roads defining an easy path and a hard path to get to varying places. If the mall doesn't have a relationship with your road provider, your car may encounter lights, traffic, etc. such that it takes HOURS to get there. But, at the same time, this little shopping center HAS a relationship with the road provider, and when the road provider detects that you're driving to the little shopping center, they automagically turn all the lights green, clear the traffic as best as they can, and you get there in minutes- even though they're equidistant from your house.

    If you have a situation like this, you don't really HAVE a free market. Lassiez Faire doesn't mean you don't control things. It means you apply the absolute minimum of interference and let the market sort it out. You honestly don't have much of a market for the ISP space, else they wouldn't be playing games like they are- as the customers would bolt from them, in large, if they had credible competition that wouldn't do the same thing Comcast is doing. As it is, their virtual monopoly on things is impairing the real free market- and it's a situation that needs a modicum of control from something other than the market because it won't be coming from the market at this point. Unless you know of something that I don't about the ISP situation... ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:57AM (#32084356)

    Is this the same idotcracy (the one who spawned the parent post) that begat "pay for recieving Short Text Message on your mobile"?

    The out right foolish jump to conclusions that the whole argument comes down to "other people need to pay for my free stuff, because I'm entitled" doesnt take in accoun, that:

    * The telecos/cablecos that got govermental monopolies didnt full fill the obligation to continuesly upgrade their infrastructure.
        An obligation that was outright stated in the monopoly grants. They choose rather to pay inflated divends to shareholders and ceos
        and shaft their customers.

    * The entitled part is actually a demand by the customers (and with monopolies everyone is a customer) to get the service that the company
        promised at the level it promised and no less.

    * And no this stuff isnt free but already paid for. But the companies rather than full fill their obligations decided to abscond with the money.
        I dont know about you but in my books that is called fraud.

  • by tomthepom ( 314977 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#32084376)

    Where on earth do you think that money comes from?
    How much do you think your stocks will be worth if the workers in those companies are sick or can't get to their offices because the roads are in disrepair and the police can't protect them from robbers? How long do you think your land will stay yours when the mob come to take it from you? And just how much do you think your nice pile of shiny dollar bills wil be worth if you don't have a strong economy and government - paid for by taxes - to back it up?
    So yeh, you might never meet a policeman in your life, your mansion might be totally self sufficient and you might travel around in your own private helicopter, but the richer you are the more you've benefitted from the society that tax has paid for and the more you have to lose if you try to weasel your way out of paying some back.

  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:09AM (#32084508)

    This post shows an amazing ignorance to the nature of telecom. It is a natural monopoly, as it is impractical to build so many independant distribution systems into an area. The capital costs are so high. Thats why net neutrality is critical. If government did not regulate these companies with franchises it would be a monopoly anyway with maybe 2 or 3 players at the most. The best way to do things is to set up a non profit company which will operate the physical infrastructure and allow other companies to use that to provide ISP services for instance, and to regard ISPs as a common carrier that must not discriminate based on source and destination.

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:29AM (#32084820)

    As a dyed in the wool conservative libertarian, I must say that you have no clue what the hell network neutrality is.

    Here is a clue: It doesn't have anything to do with bandwidth caps or allocation.

    Didn't mean to get you all confused, but you see, cable companies sell cable-TV services as well as internet access. Phone companies sell voice telephone as well as internet access. Both would prefer that I pay them $50/month for a stated amount of bandwidth, and then another $50/month for the other service. But I've found ways of fitting the other service into my alloted bandwidth.

    Well, we can't have THAT, now can we? The cable and phone companies have tried to fix their little business plan snafu by blocking my access to these alternate services. They have sold me a connection and now want to tell me what I can do with it. It is tatamount to telling me who I may call, or what television shows I may watch.

    Heh, that is all well and good, IFF they put that bullshit in the contract. They don't, because they know people would tell them where to stick it. Instead, they try to slip it in on the backend, or get the service provider to pay them. Plain and simple, this could better be described as fraud or false advertisement.

    In any case, I signed a contract for a stated amount of bandwidth for a stated price. It is now my bandwidth. Until contracted otherwise, the provider should be required to be neutral about what I do with MY network bandwith.

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:35AM (#32084922)

    Agreed. Anything that requires the power of eminent domain to implement should remain in the hands of government. If it is so important that government seize property for the common good, then government should remain in control.

    BTW, this would also solve the problem of cities using eminent domain to seize poor peoples houses and sell them to developers.

  • Re:Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s73v3r ( 963317 ) < minus berry> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:20PM (#32087766)
    How about they stop offering to sell me "unlimited" service which, apparently, isn't "unlimited"?

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!